Deprecating less-than symbol in etymologies

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I am responding on your talk page to your response at Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2011-02/Deprecating less-than symbol in etymologies from 13 March 2011. I have overlooked your response; sorry for the late response.

Re: "You can't get everyone to structure their creations in exactly the same way, and with every new thing that gets standardized, we have to explain to newbies that make a mistake what their mistake was and ask that they remember it in the future.":

Getting everyone to use the common format and structure is exactly what Wiktionary has been trying to do all along. We require that the entries conform to ELE, including the requirements on used headings, used format in translation sections, and more.

The vote is not there to scare the newbies. It does not even use the word "forbid"; it says "deprecate", which is defined by WT as "to declare something obsolescent, i.e., to recommend against a function, technique, command, etc, that still works but has been replaced". The point '(b) declaring that anyone is welcome to replace less-than symbol with "from" in etymologies, no matter whether manually or robotically' formally allows editors to switch to the "from" format, which is what some editors have informally been already doing anyway. Once every etymology contains "from", newbies are likely to use the same formatting rather than being confused by the mixture. Instead of having to search for policies and guidelines, newbies will be able to just look around and imitate. Thus, this seems to be an improvement for newbies. I do not support people pesking newbies for using "<"; I merely support that people should feel free to replace "<" with "from". If you read the text of the proposal again, it does not say anything from which pesking of newbies would follow. If you are afraid that pesking of newbies could be read into the proposal, you can explicitly state that you oppose pesking of newbies for deviating from the standard.

The use of "from" is really easy to pick, and I have seen newbies spontaneously using the form. What is much harder to use for newbies are the etyl and term templates. Some newbies vehemently reject to use them. Some senior editors have been pesking newbies for failing to use the templates in etymology sections, asserting that their use is the community decision. (As you can seen from this vote, that is as improbable as anything. ) I have been pesked by a senior editor for writing {{term|latin term||gloss}} instead of {{term|latin term||gloss|lang=la}}: what the editor complained about was the missing lang=la.

I am sorry for the long response; its benefit is that I could explain and highlight things in detail. Thank you for your attention.

Dan Polansky10:53, 19 March 2011

Firstly, no need to apologize. I am not bothered.

RE: "Getting everyone to use the common format and structure is exactly what Wiktionary has been trying to do all along. We require that the entries conform to ELE, including the requirements on used headings, used format in translation sections, and more."

Yes, I agree that we value consistency. However, there needs to be a compromise between that and having a manageable number of rules so that we don't drown in them all. There's no way to easily make everyone's contributions exactly the same in structure. Some people put the oldest definitions first in a list, some put the perceived most common definitions first and for some people it's arbitrary. Some people use "colour" and others say "color". Some people use a * for the only item in a usage notes section and others don't bother. The list goes on. As individuals, editors edit differently. To change this requires effort.

Having said that, I will be willing to switch to abstain if I understand correctly that no one (whether newbie or senior editor) will be forced (or strongly recommended, or whatever language someone might use to "force" someone to do something) to use ", from" over "<". I don't care if users want to change what other people write if they think it's bad for some reason, but I won't go so far as to support it. All I care about at this point is that it won't become a silly point to nit-pick over just because it's been voted on.

If you can assure me of that much, I will abstain. (Or you can discount my vote for me, if time runs out before I do.)

Internoob (DiscCont)04:29, 20 March 2011

In all frankness, I cannot assure you of the behavior of other editors. (I can assure you that I will do no pesking myself.) If the vote passes, it is the proposed text that passes. The proposed text is, to recall, this:

'Voting on: Setting the use of "from" in etymologies as Wiktionary standard, and deprecating the use of less-than symbol. In particular: (a) adjusting Wiktionary:Etymology, a guideline for formatting of etymology, to state that "from" is the standard, by replacing less-than symbol with ", from" in examples and by other adjustments as needed; (b) declaring that anyone is welcome to replace less-than symbol with "from" in etymologies, no matter whether manually or robotically. (c) There should be a comma and a space before "from", with the exception of "from" that is at the beginning of the etymology, and possibly some other exceptions; as in "From A, from B, from C" rather than "From A from B from C".'

The proposed text does not prevent editors from pesking, but it also does not mandate pesking. But then again, for pesking, senior editors do not need any vote: it suffices that they claim that the newbie has violated "what the community has decided" without there being a vote, such as the use of templates in etymology sections. Actually, in my case with missing lang=la mentioned in my previous post, I was no longer a newbie yet I got pesked by a senior editor. Peskers will pesk; many of them have an innate drive to do so. I think I have such an innate drive but I am trying to block it. If you want to prevent pesking in general, you have to do more than oppose a vote that makes it possible for people to replace "<" with "from": you have to say, possibly in boldface, I vehemently oppose pesking newbies for failing to use 'from'. When you see pesking that you do not like, you have to stand up to the pesker. However, there are some senior editors who won't care anyway, your boldfaced opposition or not, this vote or not. This vote really is not about whether newbies should be pesked, but rather about whether editors can feel free to quickly converge to "from".

As my afterthought, consider Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2011-02/Romanian orthographic norms. This vote could have been opposed on the ground that the editors should spontaneously converge to something in the mainspace. In fact, there was not all that much time for editors to spontaneously converge to anything as regards Romanian forms, unlike "from" vs "<" which was given at least four years for the convergence since I have started editing Wiktionary. One of the Romanian editors has been pesking another Romanian editor for using the option that has in the end won in the vote. Thus, this particular vote has protected the pesked from the peskers, despite the vote's imposing a standard.

Dan Polansky07:47, 20 March 2011

Hmm, maybe. I'll think about it.

Internoob (DiscCont)17:19, 20 March 2011